Yesterday we ventured away from Serandon, took ourselves over to Tulle. Tulle is the capital of the Corrèze département in the Limousin region in central France.
For the drive across to Tulle the satnag offered us the choice of going via toll roads, or not. We chose not. The route was very pretty but, as expected, followed mainly minor roads as it cut across the gorges. We soon felt as if we were on an alpine rally as we negotiated hair-pin after hairpin, and as we climbed up to a peak before dropping down the other side to cross a busy stream.
En-route we passed the ruined fortress of Ventadour, sitting on a rocky promontory that we were negotiating our way round.
We will have to make a separate trip to visit this site.
We arrived in Tulle whereupon the satnag, having been programmed for the town centre, had another hissy fit and guided us through the centre, up and out the other side before claiming we had reached our destination. Assuming that we needed to be at the lowest point I ignored the satnag and we eventually parked, for free, right across from the cathedral.
For the uninitiated, Tulle is sometimes known as “the town on the seven hills”. And those hillsides are very steep and every spare space is crammed with houses and businesses. It must make for some very desirable real estate but it also makes for many steep and winding roads.
Tulle was, historically, an important centre for lace production. It is the town where tulle, the finely woven material, often used for wedding veils, was invented.
Having parked up, and knowing the French penchant for towing vehicles, I enquired in the local pharmacy about parking fees. She informed me that for two, or maybe three, hours around lunchtime the parking was free. Certainly the parking ticket machines seemed to be in agreement. Both of the nearby machines were displaying “hors service” which translates to out-of-order.
Since it was lunchtime, we decided to eat at L’Abbaye. Still unsure about the parking I asked the waiter. He pointed to the ticket machines and when I explained that they were both out-of-order, he shrugged his shoulders and said “then it is free”.
We had a very nice lunch, both choosing burgers which is an unusual choice for Gerry. She chose the “Classique” which boasted a hache steak made from Limousin beef with tomatoes and onions. I had the “Auvergne” which also comprised the afore-mentioned hache steak, but with Bleu d’Auvergne, one of my favourite cheeses. All washed down with a glass of biere pression (draft beer). Very nice.
While eating we had noticed two guys working on the ticket machines and, still nervous about the parking, we wandered over to check the machines again. Still out-of-order, so we set out to explore Tulle.
One of the items, on our list, to visit was the Cloister Museum at the base of the museum. Unfortunately, it was shut.
According to the sign it was to open at 14:00, however at 14:15 there was no sign of it opening so I took a couple of shots through the bars of the iron gate and we moved on.
We opted not to venture inside the cathedral,
preferring to stay outside in the sunshine. Literally, just around the corner from the cathedral entrance is Maison Loyac.
Dating from the 16th century it is decorated with sculpted motifs of plants, animals and occasionally figures in compromising positions. So says our guide anyway. See if you can spot them.
While in Tulle we raided the local tourist information office, lifted a few leaflets to give us some ideas for future days out.
Another item on the list is the Municipal Theatre, also known as Theatre des Sept Collines (The Theatre of Seven Hills). It was built in 1899 and, although built of reinforced concrete, it has a beautiful facade decorated with enameled sandstone, busts and medallions in glazed plaster.
Mooching around on a warm summers day can develop a thirst, so we felt the need to stop for refreshments. Our chosen establishment, La Taverne du Sommelier. One beer and a coke later we were on our way meandering around Tulle.
A few more photo’s taken ….
…. and it was time to head back to the gite. A short detour into a boulangerie for a fresh loaf and we were on the road again.
Since we arrived in Serandon the local forecast has been threatening us with thunder storms and rain. Well it finally delivered the rain part of that deal, and made the first fifteen minutes of our journey unpleasant. As we travelled further east the rain disappeared and the skies brightened.
The evening back at the gite was very pleasant and I found myself watching the mists develop down in the gorges. Of course I had to go and take some, well quite a lot of, photographs. I’ve included a couple below ….
The shape and volume of the mist changes by the second and I could have stood there for ages. Well, actually, I did. I had to force myself to stop taking pictures, of the mist anyway.
Here are a couple of other shots taken while I was being mesmerised ….
Later this same evening the mists thickened until we were totally fog bound. The only reason I could see my car was that there was a street light right by it.
A suitable close to a great day.